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FAQs

  • How do I know if SGMA applies to me?
    • o SGMA applies to the 127 high and medium priority groundwater basins, which account for approximately 96 percent of groundwater use in California. To determine if you are in a high or medium priority groundwater basin, visit DWR's Groundwater Basin Prioritization webpage at: Initial Basin Prioritization.

  • How does SGMA affect existing water rights?
  • What is a subterranean stream?
    • A subterranean stream is a body of groundwater flowing through known and definite channels. When a body of groundwater has been designated a subterranean stream, access to that groundwater is subject to the same permitting requirements as diversions from surface streams. The State Water Board has adopted a number of decisions and orders identifying specific subterranean stream locations.

      Subterranean streams are regulated by California's surface water rights system; SGMA does not apply to groundwater that has been designated a subterranean stream.